The Zen Masters

Doubles duo Cody Jahrig and David Yanagita reflect on their 2015 men’s tennis season.

Sophomore Cody Jahrig last season at the Holt Courts.

Gino Terrell, Sports Editor

Laid back and relaxed are two adjectives that describe Piper men’s tennis sophomore duo Cody Jahrig and David Yanagita, in fact, their attitude is the exact opposite from their head coach Jon Henning.

“As a coach, I’m very intense. I’m very passionate and vocal and I wear my emotions on my sleeve and [Jahrig and Yanagita are] very relaxed and easygoing,” Henning said. “We call them the Zen Masters on the court.”

The Zen Masters went 10-8 in the 2015 men’s tennis season as the Pipers number one doubles tandem. The two may come off as laid back but they can turn up the intensity in their play. The two even defeated St. Thomas’s number one doubles tandem on March 7, and for Yanagita that match was their turning point.

“We took down a couple of really good players and I think before that I had confidence that we were good but I didn’t think we could take out the top teams in the MIAC,” Yanagita said.

Last season, Jahrig was partnered with a senior who went on to graduate, as Yanagita was on the east coast playing tennis in Oregon. Yanagita enrolled at Hamline last fall and was partnered with Jahrig. The two got along well on and off the court; however, almost too well, as Jahrig refers to them as being unfocused when they first went into matches.

“We had fun together but didn’t push each other,” Jahrig said.

After defeating a MIAC playoff qualifying doubles team, they adapted a winning formula.

“That’s where we kind of figured out our strategy as a doubles team,” Jahrig said. “We were kind of all over the place and then in that match it kind of all came together.”

They also discovered their relaxed personality gives them an edge.

“We don’t really let the mistakes get to us when we’re playing a bad game,” Jahrig said. “We always think we can comeback.”

Yanagita elaborated.

“We’re both pretty laid back but at the same time we can bring out that intensity in each other,” Yanagita said.

Following their spring break trip in Orlando, Florida, they faced Concordia on April 11.

Against Concordia, Jahrig won his singles match and partnered with Yanagita to win two of three of their doubles matches.

“[In doubles,] we cut down on our mistakes a lot. We played a really clean game,” Jahrig said.

Jahrig said his favorite part was seeing his first-year teammate Gabe Guarin pull out a “miracle.”

The Pipers were tied 4-4 overall at the meet and Guarin was in the lineup as the number six singles player for the Pipers. In the third set tiebreaker he was down 3-9 match points before coming back to win.

“He basically pulled out a miracle and won it for us. It was pretty cool to see him come through on that win,” Jahrig said.

Henning elaborated.

“We only play to 10 points, he saved [us] six [match points] which I will never see that again in my coaching career. Not only to win the match but the overall match [against Concordia],” Henning said.

The squad rolled the momentum to their next match against St. John’s on April 15.

Jahrig won at number three singles and teamed up with Yanagita for a doubles victory. However, the team lost 4-5.

“It would have been big to beat those guys, because they’re usually a good team in the conference,” Jahrig said.

Jahrig said in those MIAC doubles matches he’s noticed their offensive play has helped them.

Henning said the two complement each other well.

“Cody has some of the best hands I’ve ever seen. Him at the net, it’s just sick to watch him,” he said. “He likes to be right on top of the net and then you combine him with someone like David, who’s just so solid from the baseline. Someone that hits good returns, keeps the ball in play, keeps the ball low and has a good serve too. Those two complements are definitely the reason why they make a good team.”

Piper men’s tennis finished the season 8-10 (1-8 MIAC). Henning said going forward he wants to see the team win more conference games which is something he thinks they’ll do as all players on the squad will be returning next season.

Yanagita said he’s noticed a transformation from the team.

“I’ve seen just confidence shift, the amount of confidence they have now from the beginning of the season is completely different. I think we learned that we can win,” Yanagita said. “I think our team has huge potential for next year.”